Formed in 2009 by Fumi Gomez and Juan Echenique, Horatio Theatre Company specialise in Science Fiction theatre, giving particular focus to new writing and original storytelling. In bringing horror and fantasy genres to the stage under a political and social perspective, the troupe endeavour to challenge, entertain, and bring a new audience in to the theatre.

Written by Echenique, their most recent production Red Button is a tale of love and nuclear Armageddon. In this surreal world, less than one percent of the population lives above poverty. In the Flying Cities, the aristocracy are peaceful and harmonious, blissfully ignorant of the mutants wandering the wastelands below. Young couple Greg and Beth live comfortably, both have excellent jobs and a wonderful home – nevertheless, they find themselves unfulfilled, and so decide to volunteer as charity workers. They are immediately disappointed however, as instead of caring for the elderly or fluffy kittens they are assigned to a red button with the capacity to destroy the world.

Made up of two chairs, a side table and a radio, the home of Greg and Beth sits adjacent to a counter strewn with makeshift instruments. Lit by a red bulb, a conglomerate of pipes becomes a giant of the woodwind family, and every so often, a drum scaled by paddle boards used for table tennis. A peculiar and hilarious soundscape is created by the cast to underpin the action, often creating a kind of offbeat Hitchcockian suspense.

Greg and Beth’s journey is teeming with strange characters, courtesy of Yasmine Holness-Dove and Echenique himself. The script is wildly humorous, and offers a clever insight into current social issues, but unfortunately most of its gravity is lost due to Holness-Dove’s lack of projection. In addition, she makes improper use of deliberate pauses and places emphasis on words that cause sentences to run off-balance. This is a shame, as Echenique clearly has an innovative eye (and ear) for artistic communication in all its forms.

Echenique is the spirit of this production, which is made clear by the reaction of his audience. Even when in the background, he steals attention from his fellow cast members by plucking a base-marigold glove-guitar and using a wibbly-wobbly steel sheet to emphasise moments of comedy. His shameless gyrating and navigation of his own script is superb, and could likely improve the production by performing the entire play solo.

Red Button is an unusual piece of theatre, but a brilliant attempt at bringing a genre typically found on screen to the stage. Both amusing and painful at points, the end product will leave you scratching your head, giggling and running for the door all at the same time. To sum up: utterly bizarre.

Red Button is playing at theSpace on North Bridge until August 19. For more information and tickets, see